How marijuana may damage teenage brains in study using genetically vulnerable mice

In a study of adolescent mice with a version of a gene linked to serious human mental illnesses, researchers say they have uncovered a possible explanation for how marijuana may damage the brains of some human teens.
Teen Health News — ScienceDaily

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Kaiser Permanente JAMA Study Finds 10-Year Follow-up Interval After Negative Colonoscopies Is Associated with Reduced Risk of Colorectal Cancer and Mortality

OAKLAND, Calif. — Ten years after a negative colonoscopy, Kaiser Permanente members had 46 percent lower risk of being diagnosed with and were 88 percent less likely to die from colorectal cancer compared with those who did not undergo colorectal cancer screening, according to a study published today in JAMA Internal Medicine.

“Our study shows that following a colonoscopy with normal findings, there is a reduced risk of developing and dying from colorectal cancer for at least 10 years,” said study leader Jeffrey Lee, MD, Kaiser Permanente gastroenterologist and research scientist at the Division of Research.

“These findings suggest that physicians can feel confident following the guideline-recommended 10-year rescreening interval after a negative colonoscopy in which no colorectal cancer or polyps were found. There is now solid evidence supporting that recommendation.”

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force currently recommends colorectal cancer screening for adults at average risk between 50 and 75 years old, with either colonoscopy every 10 years, sigmoidoscopy every five years or fecal testing every year, assuming these tests are normal.

Before this study, there was little evidence supporting the 10-year recommended screening interval after a colonoscopy with normal findings, Lee said. “That uncertainty was concerning because colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States.”

To help address the evidence gap for when to rescreen, the retrospective study examined the long-term risk of colorectal cancer and related deaths after a negative colonoscopy in comparison to no screening in more than 1.25 million average-risk members of Kaiser Permanente in Northern California who were of recommended screening age during the 1998 to 2015 study period.

“This large study is the first with a high enough number of average-risk individuals to evaluate cancer risks after colonoscopy examinations, compared with no screening,” said senior author Douglas Corley, MD, PhD, Kaiser Permanente gastroenterologist and research scientist with the Division of Research. “Such information provides greater certainty regarding the appropriate timing for rescreening after a negative colonoscopy.”

Colorectal cancer is an active area of study at Kaiser Permanente.

The National Cancer Institute funded the study through its Population-Based Research Optimizing Screening Through Personalized Regimens consortium.

In addition to Lee and Corley, co-authors were Christopher D. Jensen, PhD, Theodore R. Levin, MD, Natalia Udaltsova, PhD, Wei K. Zhao, MPH, Bruce H. Fireman, MA, and Charles P. Quesenberry, PhD, all of the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research; Ann G. Zauber, PhD, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; Joanne E. Schottinger, MD, and Virginia P. Quinn, PhD, Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research and Evaluation; and Chyke A. Doubeni, MD, University of Pennsylvania.


About the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research
The Kaiser Permanente Division of Research conducts, publishes, and disseminates epidemiologic and health services research to improve the health and medical care of Kaiser Permanente members and society at large. It seeks to understand the determinants of illness and well-being, and to improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of health care. Currently, DOR’s 600-plus staff is working on more than 400 epidemiological and health services research projects. For more information, visit www.dor.kaiser.org or follow us @KPDOR.

About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 12.3 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to share.kaiserpermanente.org.

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UK Will Have To Pay Heavy Price For Brexit: IMF Study

The International Monetary Fund warned that if Britain leaves the European Union, the country will have to pay a heavy economic price for it, and those costs would be unevenly spread across different sectors and regions.

A Country Report on the United Kingdom by the IMF European Dept., cited in an IMF blog, has measured the potential volume of loss the country will incur in various sectors.

The British parliament is hotly debating Prime Minister Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement after t
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Cuba ‘acoustic attack’ mystery continues as study offers more details on US diplomats’ symptoms

It started with a phone call that Dr. Michael Hoffer said he had never received before in his career — not even after serving 21 years in the military.


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Movies Starring Women Earn More Than Male-Led Films, Study Finds

The research, covering 2014 to 2017, also showed the power of films that pass the Bechdel test, in which two female characters discuss something other than a man.
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New study finds bias against women and girls when intellectual ability is sought

A new study finds bias against both women and girls for jobs or activities requiring intellectual ability. The research underscores the pervasiveness of gender bias, held even among females, in both adults and young children.
Child Development News — ScienceDaily

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Linguistic study finds ‘the I’s have it’ when it comes to education rates

“I learn,” “you learn,” “she learns,” “they learn,” yet, according to a surprising new linguistic study, in countries where the dominant language allows personal pronouns such as ‘I’ to be omitted, learning suffers.
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Experimental treatment helps 2 out of 3 peanut allergy sufferers, study finds


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Children’s sleep not significantly affected by screen time, new study finds

As young people spend an increasing amount of time on electronic devices, the effects of these digital activities has become a prevalent concern among parents, caregivers, and policy-makers. Research indicating that between 50 percent to 90 percent of school-age children might not be getting enough sleep has prompted calls that technology use may be to blame. However, new research has shown that screen time has very little practical effect on children’s sleep.
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Obesity, low BMI linked to reduced lifespan, study reveals

Excessively high or low body mass index measurements have been linked to an increased risk of dying from nearly every major cause except transport accidents, new research says.


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Blood donations after mass shootings might be unnecessary, study says

As hundreds lined up to donate blood in the aftermath of the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue, a new study said that calls for blood donations after such mass-casualty events are not always necessary and may not be the best immediate response to such tragedies.


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Five out of five? Study reveals psychological influences in online reviews

A new study reveals how psychological factors affect the ratings people provide and how they describe their experiences when posting online reviews. Researchers found the length of time between product or service consumption and posting affects the review given.
Consumer Behavior News — ScienceDaily

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Wealth of world’s billionaires grew 20% last year, study reveals

China's ultra-wealthy are driving the trend, adding two new billionaires per week last year, and growing at a rate almost double that of the Americas and Europe.
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$500 Billion: Study Finds Parents Spend More on Adult Children than Retirement

Recent study insights reveal a telling tale of the extent of a parent’s love — and maybe even negligence — when it comes to their adult children. According to research, retirement security has taken a backseat for parents who are putting their children’s financial well-being ahead of their own future financial security, and they’re halting their golden-year plans just to make sure their offspring are thriving.

According to the study, “The Financial Journey of Modern Parenting: Joy, Complexity and Sacrifice” which was conducted by Merrill Lynch in partnership with Age Wave, parents today spend $ 500 billion annually on their adult children — ages 18-34 — double the amount they contribute each year to their retirement accounts.

More than 2,500 American parents were surveyed for the study which marks the third in a multi-year research series from Merrill Lynch and Age Wave, a company that studies maturing consumers.

“In this new era of delayed financial independence of young people, financial planning is no longer a solo or coupled activity,” Ken Dychtwald, Ph.D., CEO, and founder of Age Wave said in a news release. “It’s become an ongoing family project with longer and different social, housing and economic interdependencies than we’ve seen before.”

80% of parents say they would be willing to make a major financial sacrifice for adult children, including dipping into their savings or cutting back their lifestyles. 25% would take on debt or pull money from retirement accounts. The research also found 31% of early adults ages 18-34 live with their parents, but even if the child is out of the house, parents are chipping in on school costs, health insurance, rent, and car expenses. 59% expect to help pay for their children’s weddings, 26% expect to contribute to their children’s first homes, and one-third plan to contribute to their grandchildren’s college costs.

Despite the financial sacrifices, 93% of respondents said being a parent was the most rewarding aspect of their lives and 94% said raising their children — and the costs that come with doing so — has been worth “every penny.”

“When emotions and money become intertwined, parents risk making financial decisions that can compromise their — and their children’s — financial futures,” Lisa Margeson, head of retirement client experience and communications at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said in the release. “Parents can navigate this difficult balance by setting clear boundaries about their level of support, fostering financial independence in adult children, and reconciling spending on children with long-term savings goals to avoid jeopardizing their own financial security.”

 

 

The post $ 500 Billion: Study Finds Parents Spend More on Adult Children than Retirement appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Children as young as seven suffer effects of discrimination, study shows

Children are sensitive to and suffer the impacts of discrimination as young as seven years old, new research finds. Previous studies have shown children can identify racism at that age, but the study is the first to study the impacts on children under 10 years old. The study also suggests that a strong sense of ethnic-racial identity is a significant buffer against these negative effects.
Child Development News — ScienceDaily

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Study explores infant body position and learning

A developmental psychologist has completed a study that is the first to measure how often infants spend time in different body positions over the first year of life. The study aims to understand how the physical context of infants’ everyday experiences – in particular, how much time they spend in different body positions – changes over the course of the first year and how these changes are predicted by infants’ developing motor skills.
Infant and Preschool Learning News — ScienceDaily

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Not exercising worse for your health than smoking, diabetes and heart disease, study reveals

We’ve all heard exercise helps you live longer. But a new study goes one step further, finding that a sedentary lifestyle is worse for your health than smoking, diabetes and heart disease.


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New study says not exercising is pretty much the worst thing you can possibly do

exercise health

It’s no secret that there are a lot of things that can potentially impact your overall health. What food you eat, what habits you adopt or drop, and even how much sleep you get can have serious impacts on your wellbeing, but a new study by cardiologists reveals that of all the things you can do that might negatively impact your health, a sedentary lifestyle is the most deadly.

The research, which was published in JAMA Network Open, surveyed a whopping 122,007 patients between early 1991 and late 2014. The doctors recorded fitness levels of the individuals and then followed up to track mortality rates. The numbers were, as one of the authors of the paper put it, “extremely surprising.”

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New study says not exercising is pretty much the worst thing you can possibly do originally appeared on BGR.com on Fri, 19 Oct 2018 at 21:03:24 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


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States With Legal Marijuana Have a Higher Rate of Car Accidents, Study Says

As more U.S. states legalize marijuana, a debate is growing around whether greater availability of cannabis products is causing an increase in auto accidents. A report Thursday from a highway-safety research group supports the camp that believe the two are linked.

The report, issued by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, said that car accidents reported to police in three states that had legalized marijuana sales–Colorado, Washington, and Oregon–saw 5.2% more accidents than did their neighboring states.

A second study by the group estimated that states that had legalized cannabis saw 6% more insurance collision claims than other states.

In recent years, a number of studies have look at whether legal cannabis is linked to traffic accidents, often reaching different conclusions. Last year, a study in the American Journal of Public Health looked at traffic fatalities in Colorado and Washington to find that there was “no significant association” between pot legalization and higher fatalities.

A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine in April, however, recorded an increase in car crashes over the past quarter century on April 20, a day when cannabis enthusiasts celebrate the drug. A 2015 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration “did not show a significant increase in levels of crash risk” with pot use when adjusted for demographics like age and gender.

Separately, the National Transportation Safety Board announced Wednesday its ruling on a bus crash that killed 13 people in Texas last March. The driver of a pick-up truck that collided with the bus was under the influence of marijuana and a prescription sedative, the NTSB said.

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$500 Billion: Study Finds Parents Spend More on Adult Children than Retirement

Recent study insights reveal a telling tale of the extent of a parent’s love — and maybe even negligence — when it comes to their adult children. According to research, retirement security has taken a backseat for parents who are putting their children’s financial well-being ahead of their own future financial security, and they’re halting their golden-year plans just to make sure their offspring are thriving.

According to the study, “The Financial Journey of Modern Parenting: Joy, Complexity and Sacrifice” which was conducted by Merrill Lynch in partnership with Age Wave, parents today spend $ 500 billion annually on their adult children — ages 18-34 — double the amount they contribute each year to their retirement accounts.

More than 2,500 American parents were surveyed for the study which marks the third in a multi-year research series from Merrill Lynch and Age Wave, a company that studies maturing consumers.

“In this new era of delayed financial independence of young people, financial planning is no longer a solo or coupled activity,” Ken Dychtwald, Ph.D., CEO, and founder of Age Wave said in a news release. “It’s become an ongoing family project with longer and different social, housing and economic interdependencies than we’ve seen before.”

80% of parents say they would be willing to make a major financial sacrifice for adult children, including dipping into their savings or cutting back their lifestyles. 25% would take on debt or pull money from retirement accounts. The research also found 31% of early adults ages 18-34 live with their parents, but even if the child is out of the house, parents are chipping in on school costs, health insurance, rent, and car expenses. 59% expect to help pay for their children’s weddings, 26% expect to contribute to their children’s first homes, and one-third plan to contribute to their grandchildren’s college costs.

Despite the financial sacrifices, 93% of respondents said being a parent was the most rewarding aspect of their lives and 94% said raising their children — and the costs that come with doing so — has been worth “every penny.”

“When emotions and money become intertwined, parents risk making financial decisions that can compromise their — and their children’s — financial futures,” Lisa Margeson, head of retirement client experience and communications at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said in the release. “Parents can navigate this difficult balance by setting clear boundaries about their level of support, fostering financial independence in adult children, and reconciling spending on children with long-term savings goals to avoid jeopardizing their own financial security.”

 

 

The post $ 500 Billion: Study Finds Parents Spend More on Adult Children than Retirement appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Hidden Drugs And Danger Lurk In Over-The-Counter Supplements, Study Finds

Everyone has seen the ads or the products on the shelves.

A dietary supplement that promises to make consumers skinny, without dieting or exercise. Or the one that will bulk them up and turn them into the envy of other weightlifters at the gym. Not to mention the one to make them perform better in the bedroom.

Their labels say they are safe and all-natural. But are they?

Many of these products contain unapproved and unregulated pharmaceutically active ingredients, according to a study published Friday in JAMA Network Open. The authors wrote that the substances represent “a serious public health concern.”

Researchers from the California Department of Public Health found that, from 2007 to 2016, 776 products marketed as dietary supplements contained hidden active ingredients that are unsafe or unstudied. Among them, dapoxetine, an antidepressant that is not approved in the United States; and sibutramine, which was included in some weight-loss supplements but was banned from the U.S. market in 2010 because of cardiovascular risks.

“It’s mind-boggling to imagine what’s happening here,” said Dr. Pieter Cohen, an associate professor of medicine at the Cambridge Health Alliance in Massachusetts. Cohen wasn’t involved in the study but wrote a commentary published alongside the research.

The California researchers based their findings on an analysis of a Food and Drug Administration database that identifies “tainted” supplements. “The study lays a foundation for ongoing enforcement work in this area, by the FDA and other partner agencies, to curb the illegal manufacture, importation, distribution, and sales of adulterated dietary supplements,” CDPH spokesman Corey Egel said in an email.

Being tainted or adulterated means the product contains active ingredients not listed on the label that fly under the FDA’s radar.

Dietary supplements aren’t classified by the FDA as drugs. They are instead considered foods. They include vitamins, minerals and botanicals, among other things. They are not intended to treat or prevent disease and are not subject to premarket safety and efficacy testing that drugs undergo.

The FDA database tracked problems that emerged during “post-market surveillance” — for instance, adverse events reports and consumer complaints — when bottles were already in consumers’ medicine cabinets. These issues generally draw FDA warning letters and agency requests for voluntary recalls by the manufacturer.

With an estimated 50 percent of Americans consuming some type of supplement, researchers note that the $ 35 billion industry is a big business.

But Duffy MacKay, senior vice president for scientific and regulatory affairs at the supplement industry’s Council for Responsible Nutrition, noted that with between 50,000 and 80,000 supplement labels on the market, 776 tainted products is serious but not widespread.

Of the adulterated products, nearly 46 percent were for sexual performance, 41 percent were for weight loss and 12 percent were for building muscle. Ingredients like sildenafil, the active drug in Viagra, and ephedrine, a stimulant banned from diet pills since 2004, were found in supplements. Anabolic steroids, or ingredients like them, were in 73 of the muscle-building supplements.

Nearly a fifth of these supplements contained more than one unapproved ingredient.

“Adulterated dietary supplements have the potential to cause adverse health effects both on their own and also in combination with other medications an individual may be taking,” the authors wrote.

Cohen agreed, noting that a patient with heart disease might be told to steer clear of prescription erectile dysfunction meds because they could interact with other prescription medications and dangerously lower the consumer’s blood pressure.

Instead, that patient turns to over-the-counter supplements that are marketed as all-natural, thinking this product will not pose the risks he was warned about. “And that’s very worrisome,” said Cohen.

The study authors wrote that these adulterated dietary supplements “are consumed under the presumption of safety and have the potential to cause dangerous consequences in cases of misuse or overdose.”

Cohen suggested looking for supplements with a single ingredient, because they probably will have a lower likelihood of containing secret, harmful ingredients. And never trust a supplement that definitively says it can improve your health.

That advice was echoed by MacKay, from the supplement industry’s trade group, who said outrageous claims about weight loss or body building are red flags.

These products are sold online or by shady retailers and have ridiculous names like “Ball Refill” or “Weekend Prince,” he said.

“There is such a difference between legitimate products and these products,” he added, noting that these “very extreme products” are marketed to “a consumer base that may be OK with this kind of illegal stuff.” That could include, he said, consumers who are “gym rats” and people who want Viagra without a prescription.

But earlier research conducted by Cohen and cited in this study offered a different lens through which to consider the numbers. It pointed to shortcomings in the post-marketing surveillance system, especially the inability of physicians and consumers to identify an adulterated product as the cause of a health problem or to know that such things should be reported to the FDA.

“In fact,” the researchers wrote, “poison control centers received over 1,000 more reports of adverse events associated with dietary supplements use than the FDA did over a 3-year-period.”

There’s little the FDA can or will do once a bad actor is identified. Supplement recalls aren’t like food recalls, Cohen said. With supplements, the FDA can only notify a company that their products have unapproved ingredients. It’s up to the company to conduct a voluntary recall.

“The recall process itself has completely broken down as far as I can tell,” Cohen said.

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With the Flu Season Underway, New Study Shows Vaccine Benefits for Pregnant Women

The 2018­-2019 flu season is here, and Kaiser Permanente is once again urging its employees and members to get vaccinated. While the effectiveness of the flu vaccine varies from year to year, the message from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has remained the same: to prevent flu, the best thing you can do is get a flu shot every year.

Flu vaccine is especially important for people at higher risk of developing severe flu, including pregnant women, young children, health care workers, the elderly, and people with chronic conditions such as diabetes, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. A new CDC-led study, published on October 11 in Clinical Infectious Diseases, found that for pregnant women in particular, getting a flu shot reduced their risk of being hospitalized for flu-related reasons by an average of 40 percent.

Allison Naleway, PhD

Allison Naleway, PhD

The study was a partnership among CDC and other public health agencies and health care systems in Australia, Canada, Israel and the United States. Allison Naleway, PhD, an epidemiologist and vaccine researcher at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, is a study co-author.

“Expecting mothers face a number of risks to their health and the health of their baby during pregnancy, and getting the flu is one of them,” Naleway explained. “This study’s findings underscore the fact that there is a simple, yet impactful way to reduce the possibility of complications from flu during pregnancy: get a flu shot.”

Naleway is a site principal investigator for the Vaccine Safety Datalink, a national project funded by the CDC that links automated medical records data from several integrated health care delivery organizations to monitor vaccine safety. As a scientist on the front lines of vaccine research and surveillance, she often fields questions about the flu vaccine. Below, Naleway answers some of the most common questions she hears.

Why is the flu vaccine important?

Many people think of the flu as an inconvenience that causes a few days of misery at its worst, but the truth is that influenza can kill. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people end up in the hospital from the flu, and thousands of people die from flu-related causes. The flu vaccine isn’t perfect, but it’s our best defense. I encourage people to learn all they can about the flu vaccine, and the CDC’s “Key Facts About Season Flu Vaccine” is a great place to start.

Are there people who shouldn’t get the vaccine?

Many formulations of the flu vaccine are grown in chicken eggs, so people with egg allergies should talk to their health care provider before deciding whether to be vaccinated. Also, people who have had severe reactions to the flu vaccine in the past should talk to their health care provider before they decide whether to be vaccinated again. That said, severe reactions to the vaccine are very rare. Perhaps one in a million people vaccinated might have an allergic reaction or develop a rare paralytic illness. More common reactions include redness at the injection site, soreness, or a slight fever — mild symptoms that are outweighed by the vaccine’s benefits.

Is there a chance that I will still get the flu even if I do get the vaccine?

The flu vaccine is reformulated every year, so its effectiveness varies from year to year. It depends on how well the vaccine is matched to the particular viruses that are causing the flu. Scientists usually do a pretty good job of predicting which flu viruses are going to move from the Southern hemisphere into the Northern hemisphere, but sometimes they miss the mark. That’s what happened in the spring of 2009, when H1N1 spread up through Mexico into the United States. Experts didn’t see that coming, so we already had a large wave of illness before we had a vaccine to prevent it.

If the vaccine isn’t always effective, why should I get it?

The vaccine has been studied extensively and it’s very safe, so there’s very little downside to getting it. The flu can be quite serious and can cause severe symptoms including cough, sore throat, high fever, body aches, chills, fatigue and headaches. Again, while most people recover after a few days, many people end up in the hospital, and there are still thousands of people who die each year from complications of the flu.

Can the flu vaccine cause the flu?

Let me say emphatically that the flu vaccine does not cause the flu. The injectable vaccine contains a killed virus, so there’s no chance that it can give you the flu. We usually give the flu shot in September or October when a lot of other viruses are circulating, so when someone gets sick after getting the flu vaccine, it’s just a coincidence that they caught some other bug about the same time they were vaccinated.

Do you get the flu vaccine?

Yes! I get the vaccine every year — and so does my family.

 

The post With the Flu Season Underway, New Study Shows Vaccine Benefits for Pregnant Women appeared first on Kaiser Permanente.

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Jesus Can Lower Your Blood Pressure, Study Finds

Practicing religion was the secret ingredient, added to lifestyle changes, that helped a group of Black people reduce their high blood pressure, according to a new study published Tuesday in the scientific journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

Researchers used volunteers who suffer from high blood pressure and also attend church to see how certain religious practices would affect their hypertension. Black folks, already by far the most religious group in America, have been disproportionately diagnosed with hypertension.

“Our findings prove that people with uncontrolled hypertension can, indeed, better manage their blood pressure through programs administered in places of worship,” said Dr. Gbenga Ogedegbe, the lead author of the study.

The study was based on data collected from 2010 to 2014, from 373 Black participants with hypertension who attend church in New York City.

Researchers divided the participants into two groups,m with each receiving health education. Just one of the groups also received religious intervention, which included prayer, scripture reading and faith-based discussion related to health.

After six months, those in the religious intervention group reduced their systolic blood pressure by 5.8 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury).

Blood pressure readings consist of two parts: systolic and diastolic. Systolic is the pressure created when the heart beats and diastolic is the pressure when it’s resting, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC defines a healthy blood pressure reading as less than 120/80 mm Hg, with the first number systolic and the second diastolic.

African-Americans suffer hypertension at the highest rate in the world, according to the American Heart Association. More than 40 percent of non-Hispanic African-American men and women have high blood pressure. For African-Americans, high blood pressure also develops earlier in life and is usually more severe.

Ogedegbe, who teaches at New York University School of Medicine, urged clergy and church leaders to pay attention to this study.

“Vulnerable populations often have lower access to primary care. We need to reduce racial disparities in hypertension-related outcomes between Blacks and whites,” he added.

 

Life & Style – Black America Web

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Global warming could literally drive you crazy, new study reveals

Climate change will literally drive you crazy.

Rising temperatures and increased precipitation have been linked with worsening mental health, according to a new study.

Scientists compared a decade’s worth of weather data with info from nearly two million randomly sampled U.S. residents during that…

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As global temperatures rise, so will mental health issues, study says

No matter where we live, weather touches each of us daily and the warming effects of climate change go beyond the physical environment.


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New Study Finds Health Care Costs Are Rising Almost Twice as Fast as Wages

If you’ve noticed an increasingly bigger chunk is coming out of your paycheck for medical premiums and deductibles, you’re not alone, according to a newly released survey.

In 2018, the cost of premiums has outpaced raises and inflation, the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Employer Health Benefits Survey found.

The 20th annual survey looked at cost trends for the 152 million Americans who are covered by health insurance — almost half of the population.

Together, employers and employees now spend $ 19,616 annually on coverage per family, while single coverage costs $ 6,896, according to the foundation.

From 2006 to 2012, premiums rose 37%, while salaries increased only 18%.

Who’s Affected Most by Rising Health Care Costs?

“Rising health care costs absolutely remain a burden for employers, but they’re a bigger problem for workers as their cost sharing has been rising really much faster than their wages have been rising in recent years,” said Drew Altman, president and CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Average family premiums increased 5% in the past year, while singles paid 3% more. Meanwhile, wages outpaced inflation by just 0.1%, according to the report.

In general, employees at smaller companies shoulder a larger percentage of premiums and deductibles than their counterparts at bigger firms, Altman said. Average deductibles were $ 2,132 at small firms versus $ 1,355 at large employers (200 employees or more).

The cost paid for deductibles rose 212% over the past decade — eight times the growth of wages, he said.

On the upside for smaller firms, 27% of employees’ entire premium costs are employer-paid, versus 6% of employees at large companies, according to the report.

How Much Are We Paying for Health Care Each Year?

The average premium amount contributed by all workers is $ 1,186 for a single person and $ 5,547 for a family. Although that’s about the same as last year, the average amount for family coverage has increased 21% since 2013 and 65% since 2008, Kaiser found.

Most workers also are responsible for copayments when they go to a doctor’s appointment. The average is $ 25 for primary care and $ 40 for specialists, Kaiser calculated. Many workers also pay coinsurance of 18% of the covered amount of each visit, whether to a primary-care doctor or a specialist. (That was about the same as in 2017.)

Kaiser officials said employees should read their companies’ websites carefully to determine the most cost-effective option, although they acknowledge that the choices may not be plentiful.

“When you can, you should shop around,” Altman said.

Susan Jacobson is an editor for The Penny Hoarder. She also writes about health and wellness.

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.


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Football Concussion Rates Plummet After One Simple Rule Change, Study Shows

Concussions plunged in Ivy League football after the kickoff line was moved to thwart what might be the game’s most dangerous play, according to a study published Monday.

The aim of the 5-yard move was to have more kickoffs land in the end zone and reduce returns. That play is one of the only times “where players on both teams have the space to get up to full speed” rushing at each other and potentially risking a head-on tackle, said University of Pennsylvania researcher Douglas Wiebe, the lead author.

The 2016 change came at the recommendation of league coaches after data from the previous year showed kickoffs accounted for 6 percent of all plays but 21 percent of concussions. With NCAA approval, they moved the kickoff line from the 35-yard line to the 40. The touchback line was also moved, from the 25-yard line to the 20.

The NCAA approved the changes on an experimental basis for the eight private universities in the Ivy League. Other NCAA teams have kickoffs at the 35.

The researchers compared the two seasons since the change with the previous three years. They found the average concussion rate per 1,000 kickoffs plummeted from almost 11 to just 2.

Touchbacks increased to nearly 50 percent from almost 18 percent during the previous three years.

Concussion rates for other types of play were lower than those for kickoffs throughout the study years and only declined slightly after the rule change.

The research appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association. It was paid for by the Ivy League and Big Ten.

“It’s very promising that we’re able to see an effect like that,” said Zachary Kerr, a researcher in the University of North Carolina’s exercise and sport science department. Kerr, who was not involved in the study, said the NCAA should take the results seriously as it considers policy changes to reduce injuries.

While the Ivy League has been especially aggressive about modifying its playing and practice rules, all levels of football — from Pee Wee to professional — have taken steps to decrease the frequency of kickoff returns. The risks of the play, which creates high speed crashes, are common knowledge.

Dartmouth College Coach Buddy Teevens eliminated players tackling each other at most of his team’s practices — even before the Ivy League passed a league-wide rule about it. He also invented a robotic dummy that is used in tackling drills.

Teevens said the decision to push up the kickoff line was made collaboratively among the Ivy League’s coaches.

“Our thing for our game at our level has been productive,” he said. “I’m happy to see the results and share them with the country and certainly the NCAA and maybe other people follow suit.”

The NCAA implemented a new rule this season at all levels of college football that allows players to call for a fair catch on kickoffs that come down short of the end zone but inside the 25-yard line. A fair catch means the kick cannot be advanced and a ball carrier is not tackled. The result of the play is the equivalent of a touchback, where the ball is placed at the 25. The Ivy League uses the fair catch rule, along with kicking off from the 40.

Boston University concussion expert Dr. Robert Cantu, who was not involved in the research, considers the return “the most dangerous play in football.” He noted that after data showed NFL concussions overall increased slightly last season, the league’s rules committee considered eliminating the kickoff return, but decided not to.

“The Ivy League is really leading the charge into bringing about rule changes to make football safer,” Cantu said.

In 2011, the NFL moved the kickoff line to the 35-yard line from the 30, but a published analysis concluded that overall kickoff play injuries dropped but not head injuries.

While the Ivy League’s rule was an experiment, the study results likely will solidify it as formal policy, Wiebe said.

“It’s a real public health success story,” he said.

___

AP College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo contributed to this report.

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‘Last Jedi’ hate was ‘weaponized’ by Russia, says study

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The Brexit vote. The 2016 U.S. presidential election. And … the online reaction to The Last Jedi. 

What do all these events have in common? All were allegedly skewed by Russian trolls. 

The Last Jedi accusation comes in a new paper by Morton Bay, a Research Fellow at the University of Southern California (George Lucas’ alma mater). Bay analyzed all tweets sent directly to Last Jedi director Rian Johnson over a seven month period after the movie’s release. 

His conclusion? More than 50 percent were “bots, trolls/sock puppets or political activists using the debate to propagate messages supporting extreme right-wing causes and the discrimination of gender, race or sexuality,” Bay writes. “A number of these users appear to be Russian trolls.”  Read more…

More about Russia, Star Wars, Rian Johnson, The Last Jedi, and Internet Research Agency


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